Monday 23 August 2010

Is Low Confidence Holding you Back at Work?

Hello Tracy,

Here are my thoughts  around your comment about wanting more confidence to achieve your work goals.

One technique I use to help clients, which is almost always useful, is to encourage them to be as specific as possible. This thwarts a tendency all of us have to over-generalise. In that generalisation process, we lose important information which can help us to solve our problems.

So, in your case, you might ask yourself these questions:

  1. Which work goals are affected by confidence? You could write them all down as specifically as you can. Ask yourself WHAT IS MY FEAR, HERE? And push it to conclusion.
  2. What role does confidence play for each of these? Write down the answers as though you need to make some alien understand.
  3. If there is self-talk happening, write down the script.
What patterns do you see?

One possible analysis might tell you that confidence affects your goals which involve presenting to others, and that the issue here is that you feel you can't compete with those around you because you're not a graduate. Specifically, you feel like they'll expose you as being dim in some embarrassing way, and I'll be an outcast and will eventually have to leave, meaning I'll become destitute and die on the street.

Now that you have the beast fully exposed, the last two steps ask how to slay it.

4. What does an intellectual analysis of the fear tell you about the real concerns which remain?

5. What can you do to minimise, remove or step around those?

There are also techniques I use to silence the negative self-talk, replacing it with good stuff, and the chances are that this would be of most value to you. Self esteem issues are very common in our culture and quite challenging to shift, but it starts with those practical steps outlined above.

Thursday 19 August 2010

Patience & Courage

Hello Karen,

I noticed your comment about time & money not permitting you to hire a coach, and with that in mind, you might want to see the video here:

Your other common is also very interesting to read. I agree that our lives tend to be too busy. I have an allotment to tackle that one, I limit TV, I don't read newspapers, and I reserve my mornings for solitude, and I abhor almost all TV advertising.

Sometimes, making big spaces and getting good exercise are all it takes to heal a mind and a life. But sometimes, different tools are required. "The way of the world" is an interesting concept, because no two people will agree on what that way is. I think the NATURAL WORLD has its own way, and pace and truths, and they are elemental. My allotment teaches me that I'm not in control, that I will have to wait, that I must work hard, and I really value all of that (and the raspberries). Acceptance of what is  because it is - is a very valuable skill to learn, but - as the old saying has it:

"Grant me the grace to accept what I must,
the courage to change what I can,
and the wisdom to tell the difference"

. (or something similar). Most of us lack the wisdom and the courage and the tools.

In your case, your survey scores tell me you're too busy, not making progress your work/life balance is way off, you're bored, low-paid, stressed and you want to change your job. That's almost a full set Karen!

Now - do you need the grace to accept what you cannot change, or the courage to make the changes? If you're looking for the latter then I can help you.

Monday 9 August 2010

Poor Staff Performance & Motivation

Hello Richard,

I see you scored 94% so clearly you know a lot about management, but you reported poor performance and motivation by some team members, and so here are some thoughts you may find helpful.

Motivation and performance go hand-in-hand, so I'll focus on motivation.

Most people work to live, not the other way around. In fact research suggests that 60% of us HATE out jobs. So how do you build a happy, motivated team? It's all about setting the right environment. Here's my list:
  • Show consistently high standards of personal integrity In all things, show by example what kind of behaviour you expect from your team. Tell the truth, do your best, be open to feedback. Treat people consistently and fairly.
  • Run a well-organised operation in which stress is minimized It's your job to MANAGE the team. That means designing a corporate machine which works really well, in which each component (person) has a defined role which they understand and can perform well. If things are chaotic, deadlines are always pushed, the team is under-manned, poorly trained or under-equipped - that's your job to fix. Easier said than done, of course, but - that's why you're there.
  • Operate an efficient meritocracy .. in which people understand their roles, and are rewarded for their contributions. In which slackers and disruptive elements are dealt with promptly and fairly. In which age, years of service or qualifications are not the dominant factors, but contribution is. If people cannot be inspired to contribute adequately, remove them.
  • Manage through empowerment As far as sensible, delegate responsibilities downwards, but be available to support wherever necessary. Allow people to be the architects of their own destinies. Inspire them to make things better. Support a questioning, creative environment.
  • Grow the team Make structured opportunities for people to work together, to help and inspire eachother, to like eachother, to have fun together.

I can virtually guarantee that the poor motivation and performance you report is down to some failures in this list. (but I'd be interested to know if you disagree!).

Good luck with it, Richard, 

Best Wishes,